one day at a time

day 332: Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd © Verena Fischer 2012

Sea Shepherd © Verena Fischer 2012


If you follow my blog regularly you probably know that I support the Sea Shepherds. Yesterday they sent another call to action out for a visual petition to free Captain Paul Watson:

‘To protest Captain Watson’s pending extradition and urge his release, Sea Shepherd is calling upon its supporters the world over to participate in an Online Visual Petition and Day of Action. We want you to visually answer one of the following questions: “Why is Captain Paul Watson important to our planet?” or “Why does Sea Shepherd matter to you?” ‘

So, after I read the call I went back into my archives and pulled out a picture I took in May. The picture shows shark eggs and was taken at the Sea Life Centre in Berlin, where I went to visit this “little” guy. So, why does Sea Shepherd matter to me? Well, it’s simple really. The animal trade is one of the biggest illegal industries in the world, right in there with drug and weapons trafficking. The Sea Shepherds are people, who go out there to fight the animal trade, since most governments don’t take this issue seriously enough or participate in the trade themselves. With that the Sea Shepherds literally risk their lives, since they are going against organised crime and a million dollar business. The Sea Shepherds have made many enemies and the Taiwanese Shark Fin Mafia even has a 20,000$ bounty on Captain Watson’s head.

“Captain Paul Watson was arrested in Frankfurt on May 13th on a 10-year-old warrant from Costa Rica while en route to Cannes, France. He is being detained in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for an alleged “violation of ships’ traffic,” which occurred during the 2002 filming of the award-winning documentary, “Sharkwater.” The specific incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by Costa Rican vessel, the Varadero. On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted. While escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where we uncovered even more illegal shark-finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.”

By the way, in case you’re wondering how shark finning works: The sharks get their fins cut off for shark fin soup and then they simple get thrown back into the water to die there. I can’t even find words for how appalling I find this practice.

The Sea Shepherds don’t only protect sharks, but also – among others – dolphins, whales, seals and the Galapagos Islands. Their cause really is worth supporting and if you don’t know their work already, you should check out their website: You can also find the full Call to Action and information on how to participate here.

After I edited this picture I also played around with some more pictures, which you can see if you click on one of the pictures below.


10 responses

  1. Thank you for this post.. I had never heard of the Sea Shepherds before but I will be emailing tomorrow..

    July 12, 2012 at 1:23 am

    • That’s great Helen! I only heard of them some months ago myself and since then I’ve learned a lot about the animal trade and how big a problem it really is. I doubt that many people are aware of the animal trade being organised crime! Considering the size of these illegal operations it is safe to say that the biodiversity of our planet is seriously in danger and hardly anyone seems to be too bothered about that. That’s why I support the Sea Shepherds, because they care and they are not afraid to fight against mafia structures that will not stop when it comes to killing people.

      July 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

      • In this crazy world where so much is wrong it is unfortunately hard to keep up with all the campaigns to try to put things right..

        July 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      • You’re right, it’s very hard to keep up with such things. There are so many aspects of this world that have to be defended nowadays.

        July 14, 2012 at 11:06 am

  2. Tammy

    Thanks for opening my eyes to such a problem…I didn’t know this was so huge. I LOVE your picture by the way!

    July 12, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    • Thank you Tammy! It is one of these problems that is rarely spoken about nowadays, although the illegal revenue created through the animal trade is the second highest after drugs. I think the first time I became aware of the extent of the animal trade was through a documentary about the photographer Patrick Brown. He spent the last 10 years documenting the animal trade. Check it out here: Really worth watching!
      There is also a documentary called Shark water, which is directly about the work of the Sea Shepherds if you’re interested.

      July 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

  3. Beautiful image, Ms. F…
    the aquatic / neon colors are just incredible…

    July 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    • Thanks again 🙂 Easily the best picture I took on that day after the crazy Japanese Spider Crab picture. I’m very happy with it 🙂

      July 14, 2012 at 11:26 am

  4. Excellent post Verena…people around the world NEED to take notice and help stop these appalling practices that take place at sea and on land. Various forms of poaching have been around forever but the greed for animal parts needs to end. Thank you for posting this!

    July 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    • Thank you David! Indeed it is really amazing that so few people are aware of poaching and how big a market it still is. In fact it is the second largest illegal revenue after drugs! I used to think that poaching ended with ivory and tiger heads to be mounted in the homes of rich people, but actually the biggest part of the animal trade involves stupid superstition and wedding traditions in the far east! Especially sharks really suffer from how big weddings have become in the far east, because they serve shark fin soup there. And sadly aphrodisiacs are made from many different animals as well. It has to stop!

      July 14, 2012 at 11:37 am

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